Listen to Your Body – part 2 – Diets

My latest column in The Cockermouth Post (February issue) is now out:

Last month we looked at aliments, this month it’s diets. Today’s culture seems to be to ignore our bodies and to choose what we eat using our minds and thoughts. These are influenced by marketing. Food manufacturing companies are very good at seducing us and they spend a fortune carefully crafting their adverts. Whilst they don’t actually tell lies, their ability, for example to link a low nutrient, high sugar breakfast cereal to a slim, healthy body in a red dress, as if the one caused the other, is uncanny.

We need certain nutrients and won’t function properly without them. When you feel hungry, ask yourself what your body needs. Perhaps you haven’t eaten for a while or perhaps you have eaten, even overeaten, but the wrong things. Hunger isn’t always a request for more; it might be a plea for something different. Eating more of the same won’t meet the need and could put weight on you. It’s possible to be malnourished and obese at the same time.

Diets are all about deprivation. We’re so hard on ourselves. It isn’t our body’s fault if we’re overweight. We’ve all been misled about food and eaten what does us harm. We punish ourselves using willpower to resist the message of hunger but mind over matter does nothing to change our actual biology or the chemical reactions that are the reality our physical lives. If your body needs something, feed it; not with sweet artificial snacks – what about real food? It’s time for some self care. This year you could decide to nurture yourself by eating good foods to meet your needs.

Top tip: Pause and consider, “What does my body really need?”